Saturday, 22 July 2017

Final Girls by Riley Sager

| I received my copy of Final Girls via Netgalley for review purposes |

Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead...

They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.  

Opening up Final Girls we meet Quincy, the sole survivor of the Pine Cottage Murders, a woman who has tried to leave the night she lost several friends firmly behind and forge onwards with a 'normal' life. Now a prominent baking blogger, Quincy lives in New York with her boyfriend, Jeff and attempts to go about her day to day business, without the title of Final Girl.

'Final Girl' is a movie phrase, used for the last surviving girl in a horror film massacre, with news outlets having assigned the name to three girls over the past years - Lisa Milner, Samantha Boyd and of course, Quincy. Despite having three separate traumas, the girls are linked and share a connection of sorts, not just through the media.

The life Quincy has made for herself is soon shattered when Coop, the policeman who found Quincy on the fateful night at Pine Cottage, shares with her the knowledge that Lisa Milner has died. With the death of Lisa comes the arrival of Samantha Boyd to New York, in search of Quincy and in search of answers.

Running alongside the current day plot of the aftermath of Lisa's death, there are also snatches and snippets of what occurred the night of Pine Cottage - memories that have been repressed for a long time are soon to surface, and all is not what it seems.

There's no doubt about the fact that Final Girls is an intense read - the plot is gripping, I was page turning in a frenzy, and I actually finished this book within a 24 hour time span. I picked the story up at every opportunity I had, and even though at points I thought I knew where the plot was going, I was left surprised by the conclusion.

Overall I rated Final Girls 4 out of 5 stars, with a couple of things leading me to knock a star off. The main reason being that there was a certain character I would've liked to have known more about, and following on from that, although the ending packed the shocker punch, I do feel like it wrapped up very quickly in comparison to the build up. Also the use of 'babe' by Samantha - she ended literally every sentence with it, and it ended up really jarring me. That's probably being nit picky, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Despite those points, I did really enjoy the writing of Riley Sager, especially the use of short & sharp sentences and suspense filled chapters. I'll definitely have my eye out for future books by Riley Sager.


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Seasonal Reading Lists (+ Blogging Update)

Lately I've been thinking a fair bit about seasonal reading lists... I've always had bumpy relations with TBR lists, often times with me not completing them, however with the way I've been reading of late I think I could really benefit from introducing seasonal reading lists into my life.

Seasonal reading lists... Not a TBR.

The way I approach things often has an impact on the outcome of any given task, as I'm sure it does for many, and that's why I'll be switching up my mind set from TBR (to be read) list to a reading list.

I get that they are basically the same thing - a compiled list of books that you hope to read over a certain period of time - however I associate TBR's with negative thoughts and feelings of failure.

By putting together a seasonal reading list, I'll have a stack of carefully selected books that I'm excited to read within a given season. There will be no pressure, no negativity involved, no feeling of overwhelm because these books need reading... The aim is to return to my favourite pastime of reading, taking comfort in books and enjoying the written word.

A large reason as to why I'm going to start taking on seasonal reading lists is because I want to enjoy reading once more, although I'm sure there will be other benefits too.

Allocating a set amount of money at the start of each season means I'll be able to keep the amount of money I spend on books to a minimum. As of right now I haven't set that figure, but I'm thinking somewhere between £30-£50 for a season. I wouldn't need to buy all of my books at the start of the season, but so long as it stays within budget over the entire three months - I would like to start each season with a base list of books though.

My reading list will include a variety of genres, as well as different target audiences. I read quite eclectically in general, but when I'm really feeling a particular genre, let's say crime, then I'll often burn myself out reading all the crime books, and this is something I want to avoid. I want to intentionally read more widely, and I think that'll be easier to do with a reading list, as I'll be carefully selecting the books that will be laid out for me in the coming months.

This is has basically been the year of reading slumps for me - and I want to work on this. I think having a reading list will help for a couple of reasons, the first being briefly touched upon in the above section of variety. The second reason I think a reading list will help is the fact that I'll be giving myself reading perimeters almost, with a set list of books, and so I think that will help me to be less flitty and finicky with my book choices.

For the most part, I've always been someone who read freely, picking up books that suited my mood and going with the flow of feeling, however this year has been a funny old one for me in terms of books and I haven't been enjoying the experience - not of reading, but of the slumps and such. I want to read, I love to read, and by making it a little more low maintenance, I think I can find that joy once more.

Along with making reading a little more low maintenance - it doesn't matter if I don't complete a book within a set amount of days or a week etc - this approach will be taken to my blog also. I will still be sharing content here as I love book blogging and the community I've built here, but there will no longer be a set consistency to my posting. When there's a book I want to rave about, I'll share, or when I feel inspired to sit and write, I'll share.

I think putting a pressure on both reading and blogging, two of my favourite hobbies, has sucked a little of the fun out of them, and I'm keen to get that back.

I've been working on my mindset and improving the way I live my life for a while now, with a more mindful approach, enjoying the little things and taking note from the slow living movement, and this change goes hand in hand with that really.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

| I received my copy of The Summer of Impossible Things via Netgalley for review purposes |

If you could change the past, would you?

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.

Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.

At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?

When their mother dies of a tragic suicide, physicist Luna and her sister Pia travel to Brooklyn, New York in order to tie up some loose ends of their mother's, namely the sale of a property she jointly owned with her sister.

Whilst in Bay Ridge, their mother's hometown, demons she battled her entire life come to light, meanwhile scientist Luna starts to experience things that make her question all that she knows.

Visiting the home in which her mum, Marissa, grew up in, Luna is transported back to 1977; Luna time travels to the summer that changed her mother's life, and not for the better.

With the knowledge she now possesses and these newfound abilities, Luna sets out to save her mother and change the course of history.

I was initially drawn to The Summer of Impossible Things because of the time travel aspect, as I enjoy reading that merged with current day, however it was the theme of love within this book that captured me. The story showcases love in a variety of ways, with the sacrifices we make for loved ones being prominent throughout.

'"Love outlasts even death. It's present in every moment, even those filled with darkness; it's never exhausted, it never gives up or waivers. It's the one force of the universe that will never be captured by an equation or your science."'

The characters I met in this book have such deeply developed stories, and are ones that will remain with me for some time to come. The strength and courage possessed by the female leads (Luna, Pia and Marissa), all throughout, was something I admired and loved how strongly they were written.

Happily so, I've now discovered the beauty of Rowan Coleman's writing, and having now finished this five star read I'm keen to explore more of her works.

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